CHICAGO (CBS) — A father was shot in the face in a case of mistaken identity, in what has become a problem area for police when it comes to violence.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, friends of Hector Alvarez Jr. said he was targeted for the car he drives.
He is one of the latest victims of gun violence in the Albany Park area, where Mayor Lori Lightfoot has vowed to send more resources as shootings have more than doubled year-to-year.
People who spoke to De Mar in Albany Park and Ravenswood Manor said it is too early to tell if the new police resources will make a difference. But just days after the mayor announced plans to focus more attention there, Alvarez was shot on his way home.
Alvarez called 911 himself after being shot at 10:16 p.m. Saturday. He somehow found the strength to call police after he was shot in the head, chest, and arm in the 2700 block of West Agatite Avenue in Ravenswood Manor.
“That’s a fighter,” said Alvarez’s friend, David Hernandez. “That’s man that I’m sure mustered up every inch and every ounce of energy – probably thought about his family, probably thought about his friends – and just enough to dial those three numbers.”
“That’s him,” added friend Alejandro Torruella. “This guy doesn’t take no for an answer.”
Friends and family of Alvarez said the union engineer was shot in a case of mistaken identity. They believe he was chased through Ravenswood Manor to a dead-end on Agatite Avenue at the Chicago River’s North Branch because he drives a black Jeep of the same model they say was involved in a previous gang shooting.
“It’s unfortunate that they targeted someone that had absolutely nothing to do with whatever it is that they are dealing with,” said friend Adolfo Romanis.
“He’s everything to me,” said Alvarez’s son, Jeremiah Roman. “I’m happy he’s alive. I’m sad he’s going to go through this, because I know it’s going to be a constant battle.”
Alvarez one of the latest victims in a surge of shootings in the Albany Park and Ravenswood Manor neighborhoods. Police point to at least 10 different gang conflicts as a factor.
“Gang violence has crept up into a lovey neighborhood,” said Hernandez, who used to live in Albany Park. “Law enforcement does their part, but as a community, we can sand up for ourselves.”
As shootings have more than doubled year to year in these two neighborhoods, Mayor Lightfoot promising to send violence interrupters and more police resources.
“I’m angry that this happened,” Roman said.
In the days since the shooting Alvarez has already undergone several surgeries for injuries that will last a lifetime
“He’s going to have a long road,” said Alvarez’s friend, Juliana Romanis.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help with Alvarez’s medical costs. As of Tuesday night, no arrests had been made.